*I received a free copy of Immersed from via Author. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *|
What if love turned you into a monster?
Forget petticoats and demure female behavior. Melusine Doré prefers armored corsets and knives and slays evil creatures for a living. The grim and gruesome don’t frighten her; she’ll take on a cyclops or a dragon and not even break a sweat. But when her rival, the charismatic Levi Cannon, comes to town, all her buried fears begin to surface. Melusine realizes she is in danger of something much more horrifying than facing blood-thirsty beasts – she’s in danger of falling in love. Because love alone has the power to reveal a secret terrible enough to completely shatter her world.
Set in the muddy streets of 1850s steampunk Chicago, Immersed by Katie Hayoz is a dark yet romantic fantastical romp. It is a stand-alone novella, but the first in a series of adventures that follow Melusine on her quest to rid the world of monsters…and her struggle to come to terms with every monstrous facet of herself.
Immersed is a tightly written steam-punk novella with intriguing and compelling characters, as well as mysterious mythology where all I want is to know more!
My Immersed review:
Both Melusine and Levi are strong characters, who have known of each other for years, being competitors when it comes to killing monsters for quite a while. Immersed is set in Chicago, during the time when buildings were made higher in order to make them stay overground. There are wonderful steel-creatures as well as horrible monsters, and Melusine is far from what could be called a lady at the time. Dressed in leather corsets, and always wearing weapons, she is attuned to the monsters around her in an uncanny way. And just because Levi Cannon is a man doesn’t mean he can do the job better than her – even if the newspapers seem to think a woman shouldn’t be fighting monsters at night.
Even if she IS fighting monsters, Melusine has suitors, especially one, a very wealthy man who owns both metallic servants and several ships that navigate on Lake Michigan. Melusine will not accept his proposals, though, and Immersed quickly showed me that this isn’t only because she wants to keep killing monsters, there is a secret she is keeping, and Sir Edwin Aldridge may just be the one to bring it all out in the open.
I really enjoyed this darker and different side of Chicago! The steampunk feel was very well done, and especially the sea-monster Levi and Melusine needed to kill was both scary and strangely familiar. Immersed is a short-story in the upcoming Falling in Deep Collection, but it is also only the beginning of Levi’s and Melusine’s adventures – even if their adventures might not be fought together. If you enjoy steampunk and historical fiction, Immersed has the perfect blend of both, with a strong female protagonist who knows how to fight. Her sharp with and sarcastic tongue immediately endeared Melusine to me, and I can’t wait to read Submerged when it is released.
Written in third person point of view, past tense and mostly from Melusine’s perspective, Immersed also has plenty of really good dialogues, in which Melusine’s wit and sharpness shines through.
Some of my favorite Immersed quotes:
“Where you off to, Miss Mel? I don’t want you bringing any beastly body parts back here, you hear me?”
Melusine sidled past her, stifling a grin. “It was just the once. Every part of a Silver Spined Dragon is useful; I couldn’t allow the corpse to go to waste.” The dragon meat was roasted, the claws carved into weapons, the scales ground up and sold and the vertebras made into bullets. The wings paid for one month’s rent and a bag of butterscotch candy. If Melusine had another beast like that to bring back, she wouldn’t hesitate!
Dread crept quietly across Melusine’s stomach. She shifted in her chair and focused on the cigar, trying to calm her beating heart.
Outside, she waited to cross the street as an entire house on rollers was being pulled down the road by live and metal horses. Rather than stay put and have their homes raised out of the muck, many wealthy people had decided to move the buildings themselves to a new (and more stable) location in the city.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: